Ermelo time is real time! Why? Because the town is situated on 30 degrees east longitude, the measurement on which South African Standard Time is based. The economy of the Ermelo area is based on coal-mining and agriculture and it is also South Africa’s principal source of anthracite and torbanite. The town was established in 1871 by the Reverent Lion-Cachet, who named it after the town in the Netherlands where he had once lived. During the Anglo-Boer War the town was all but razed to the ground, only one house and the church being left standing, but it rose from its ashes and was reconstructed in 1903. To this day these happenings are commemorated in the town’s coat of arms, which includes a phoenix rising from the flames. Ermelo is one of the educational and industrial hubs of the province.

Archaeology And Palaeontology

Legoya Huts: An excavation site and the ruins of what is believed to be an early settlement of the mysterious Legoya peole lies close to the town and has yielded artefacts and other objects of early Sotho/Pedi origin, dating back to around 1400 AD.

San Rock Art: Many of the caves and stone shelters in the area have fascinating examples of San rock art.

Adventure And Sport

Cycling and mountain-biking: There are numerous routes in the area to choose from. The annual Tour de Ermelo Annual Cycle Race is an important event on the region’s cycling calendar.

Golf: The town boasts a pleasant 18-hole golf course.

Hiking: Numerous hiking trails, some on private farms, have been established in the area.

Entertainment And Shopping

Ermelo Wool Festival: The annual Ermelo Wool Festival attracts visitors from all over the country and is an opportunity for local wool farmers to exhibit their wares.

Water-sport: Many of the dams in the area have excellent angling, water-sport, recreational and accommodation facilities. These include the Willem Brummer Dam, the Douglas Dam with its country club and nature reserve – the latter stocked with fallow deer – and the Pet Dam with its indoor sports amenities.

History And Architecture

Anglo-Boer War Memorial: The statue of a mounted “burgher” (Boer soldier) in the grounds of the Civic Centre, was erected in memory of those who lost their lives during the Anglo-Boer War.

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